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The Art of Managing Older Workers

Managers are increasingly finding that they have to manage workers that are older than them, according to a Business Insider article, and deal with the challenges that this presents. For example, some younger managers may be asked to ‘prove’ that they have what it takes to lead more experienced employees.

One manager quoted in the article reports that one of his staff felt that it was “very strange” to be managed by someone younger than him. The manager resolved the situation by having an open discussion with the employee and ended up developing a solid working relationship with him. It’s recommended that young managers focus on earning the trust and respect of older people by following this advice.

5 steps to managing older workers

  1. Get to know your staff and their skills well. Younger managers sometimes make decisions in isolation when they could in fact benefit from the experience and knowledge of older members of the team. You should be open to asking employees how the department could work better.
  2. Make sure that you use the expertise of those around you and ask older workers how you could best utilise their skills, including developing them even further. By listening and acting upon their opinions, you’ll quickly gain their respect.
  3. However, when it’s required, you must act as the leader and decision maker. Older workers must meet performance expectations and targets as much as anyone else and you shouldn’t let their experience deter you from setting these requirements.
  4. Young managers are more likely to feel doubtful about their performance, simply because they have less experience. It’s therefore important to work on your confidence levels in order to show that you have the authority to make decisions and lead the team.
  5. Show that you care about your employees. By taking interest in their well being, they are more likely to be engaged and productive. This is particularly important to older workers, who want to feel supported as much as they are challenged.

Read the full article here: How To Manage Employees Who Are Older Than You.